Gophers women hold up as Minnesota’s best

The women’s gymnastics team took home the top spot in the Best of Minnesota meet.

by Alexandra Pluym

Back at home for the first time since its finest performance of the season against Michigan State, the Minnesota womenâÄôs gymnastics team was ready to show that it is the best in the state. The Gophers did just that Saturday night. The team took home the top spot in the Best of Minnesota meet, which is now named the âÄúAlways DreamingâÄù meet in honor of the late University of Minnesota Director of Athletics Compliance Frank Kara. Minnesota finished with 194.95 points as a team. Winona State took second with 178.725 points, Gustavus earned third with 172.75 points and Hamline finished with 167.8 points. Although the Gophers dominated the meet, they have been relatively inconsistent this season. Senior Alexis Russell said she believes the team needs to approach competitions as nothing more than the routines in practices. âÄúJust because weâÄôre in competition and judges are here doesnâÄôt mean that we have to change what weâÄôre doing,âÄù she said. Russell and junior captain Kristin Furukawa said theyâÄôre just going to keep working harder as the season progresses. âÄúWeâÄôre really trying to keep rolling with this [win] and succeed,âÄù Furukawa said. âÄúJust make the little things better each time.âÄù Both women have had terrific individual success so far this season. Russell has finished each meet with at least 9.825 points on floor and scored 9.875 Saturday. On the uneven bars and beam this season, Furukawa has scored less than 9.7 just once. She finished with season-highs on the bars and beam, scoring 9.775 and 9.875, respectively. While she has enjoyed individual success, Furukawa was excited about her teamâÄôs performance Saturday. âÄúIt was good to come out here and show Minnesota what weâÄôre made of,âÄù she said. Winter Cup for men Four members of the Minnesota menâÄôs gymnastics team competed last weekend at the 2010 Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev., seeking spots on the 15-man U.S. MenâÄôs Senior National Team. Seniors Adam Reichow, Andre Berry and Aaron Fortunato were joined by freshman Harris Coleman at the meet. In the first session, Fortunato, who competed in all six events, finished second on the high bar with 14 points and third on the rings with 13.45. He also finished fourth with a 13.95 on the parallel bars. Coleman competed in five events and earned his highest score of 13.85 to take fifth on the pommel horse. Berry also competed in five events and finished sixth in the vault with a 15.35. Reichow took fifth on the floor with 14.1 points and also competed on the vault. Only Fortunato, who finished third in the first session with 82.65 points, advanced to the finals. He finished 22nd overall in the finals. The menâÄôs team has its next three meets on the road, beginning with a Big Ten dual meet against Illinois at 7 p.m. next Saturday in Champaign, Ill.